Great Basin National Park is one of the most underrated national parks in the U.S. Located just off US 50, aka “Loneliest Road in America,” this hidden gem is a MUST especially for those who want to enjoy full solitude and get away from tourists (I know I do!).
We, of course, stopped by at the visitor’s center first. Michael and I wanted to do a cave tour of Lehman Caves. Of course…if you read my previous blog, then you know the whole procedure of White Nose Syndrome.
We had to answer a few basic questions pertaining to whether we’ve previously been inside a cave, what items we brought, etc. We sanitized our shoes for about five minutes outside, waiting for our tour to begin.
Michael and I chose the Grand Palace Tour since it’s longer and covers the Lodge Room Tour as well.
To find out more information about the cave tour and prices, I recommend clicking here.
Okay then. We began our Grand Palace Tour and I gotta say this was pretty exciting!
Why you ask?
Well, I’ll let the pictures tell the whole story:
We entered what looked to be a long hallway where the walls, pretty much, create an echoing sound.
Entering the doorway, we were led into Gothic Palace Room.
Next up, we headed over to Lodge Room as Music Room was closed off 😞.
After Lodge Room, we headed over to Inscription Room.
You can easily tell this room since there are graffiti marks on the cave ceilings and walls.
Finally, we entered the Grand Palace section of Lehman Caves and saw the famous “parachute shield” cave formations.
And a cool looking cave bacon.
After seeing all the cool cave formations and rooms, the guide concluded the cave tour with a surprise.
If you want to know what’s the surprise, why not take the Lehman Caves tour and find out for yourself?
After the cave tour, we drove to Wheeler Peak Overlook.
This was just a quick drive to see the infamous, Wheeler Peak. Standing at over 13,000 ft., this mountain is known to be the second highest point in Nevada (the highest is Boundary Peak).
Due to the weather and snow conditions, Michael and I agreed it’d be a lot safer to hike it some other time.
Lastly, Michael and I headed over to hike the Bristlecone Grove.
FUN FACT: Bristlecone pines are one of the oldest living organisms on earth and are adaptable to harsh environment conditions. What does that remind you of? Well for me, this reminded me of the giant sequoia trees down in Sequoia National Park.
We parked at the trailhead parking lot and headed for our “brief” walk, starting at the Sky Islands Forest Trail. This is an easy, flat trail so take a break before your climb.
After the Sky Islands Forest Trail, the trail started to gradually gain elevation. After 0.3 miles, the trail led to two forks: one took you to Bristlecone/Glacier Trail and the other took you to Alpine Lakes Loop Trail.
After 0.6 miles, we saw more signs pointing to Bristlecone Pine Grove, Rock Glacier and Teresa Lake.
Important Note: There was a Glacier Trail hike, but we opted not to go further. We just wanted to see the ancient bristlecone pines and nothing more.
Probably no more than an hour, I started having bowel movements that I had to walk a bit slower than Michael.
About a mile (maybe more), we made it to a bunch of giant bristlecone pines!!! We walked around these ancient trees, taking it all in before we leave.
And then…my stomach started to hurt and I couldn’t hold it anymore.
So, I practically ran downhill to go to the bathroom at the parking lot.
At least we saw some giant bristlecone pines before turning around. I’m pretty sure there were more up there, but damn my bowel movements.
After a LONNNNGGGGG it felt like an hour, but it was really a fifteen minute bathroom break, I was instantly relieved.
We headed out of the park, feeling happy and excited for our next adventure!
Next time though, I’d love to spend more time at Great Basin National Park. Maybe spend a few nights just to enjoy the night sky, the solitude of the mountains and desert, and hike to Wheeler Peak (and possibly the glaciers).
Have you been to Great Basin National Park? Tour the Lehman Caves? Hike up to Wheeler Peak? What was your experience, good or bad? Let me know by commenting down below.